Over the course of the last couple of decades, a massive shift in corporate power has been occurring.
Where we once viewed hardware and hard goods as the ultimate sign of power and wealth in the world, we are now seeing a transfer of clout to the digital realm. Early internet adopters such as Google and Facebook have reaped the benefits of this windfall, and have done so with an unflinching thirst for more.
Worse still, many of the largest internet-centric corporations out there are evolving faster than our legal system can catch up, giving the entire world wide web a bit of a wild-west feel.
This week, it seems as though the Department of Justice may finally have got within earshot of Google’s plans for world domination.
The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit Tuesday alleging that Google engaged in anticompetitive conduct to preserve monopolies in search and search advertising that form the cornerstones of its vast conglomerate.
The long-anticipated case, filed in a Washington, D.C., federal court, marks the most aggressive U.S. legal challenge to a company’s dominance in the tech sector in more than two decades, with the potential to shake up Silicon Valley and beyond. Once a public darling, Google attracted considerable scrutiny over the past decade as it gained power but has avoided a true showdown with the government until now.
So, what exactly is the issue?
The department alleged that Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., is maintaining its status as gatekeeper to the internet through an unlawful web of exclusionary and interlocking business agreements that shut out competitors. The government alleged that Google uses billions of dollars collected from advertisements on its platform to pay mobile-phone manufacturers, carriers and browsers, like Apple Inc.’s Safari, to maintain Google as their preset, default search engine.
As it stands today, Google accounts for 4/5ths of all internet search queries, making the company’s algorithm a major bottleneck of the digital realm.
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